The Northern Cape provincial government says it is concerned at the growing rate of unauthorized expenditure by provincial departments.
Addressing the Budget Lekgotla on Monday 22 October, Premier Sylvia Lucas indicated that she was concerned that the provincial government continues to spend the money “which we don’t have.”
“We should appreciate that there is no money, no new money will come into our system. What we have should be used with proper care. However, we appreciate the effort put in place by provincial treasury to assist departments such as health, education and local government to turn things around,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by the MEC for finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, that drastic measures should be employed “to tackle the growing unauthorized expenditure of the province. We are however encouraged by the fact that the Departments of Education and Sport, Arts and Culture is reporting good progress in this regard and other departments are following suite, which will drastically improve the picture for 2019.,” said Jack.
The Budget Lekgotla was attended by Premier Sylvia Lucas and her Executive Council, Head of Departments, Head of Ministries, CEOs and CFOs of the Provincial Entities. These fora bring together administrative and political leadership to ensure that there’s alignment in terms of planning and improved quality and effectiveness for public spending. It comes after a successful Provincial Medium-Term Expenditure Committee (PMTEC) and the MEC Budget Bilaterals.
MEC Jack said the fiscal measures adopted by Executive Council needs to be maintained into the medium period to optimise full value and impact. “One of these measures was to apply strict conditions on the equitable share unspent funds presiding from the previous financial year. The moratorium (for jobs) has become a contentious issue and we need to improve our approval processes to deal with the red tape especially for those department with adequate resources to appoint additional personnel.”
He said that the process of determining trade-offs and reprioritisation cannot be seen to be a Provincial Treasury responsibility, but an approach that is premised on the interests of the province rather than the individual portfolios.
“This posture and broad understanding will assist us greatly as we move towards the final stages of the budget process.”
MEC Jack indicated that the Budget Council has endorsed a new grant which will be added to the system for the roll out of the Sanitary Dignity project for the provision of free sanitary towels in the 2019 MTEF
“The Infrastructure Delivery Improvement Programme (IDIP) which was introduced 10 years ago to improve poor delivery of Infrastructure across the country is coming to an end, in order sustain this program and improve the delivery of infrastructure, resources will be made available through the Provincial Equitable Share (PES) to be allocated in the Provincial Treasuries. I will provide further details in my speech in November,” MEC Jack said.
He indicated that the solutions to most of the problems will not be solved by adding resources in the system.
“We expect HODs to manage and present options in how some of these problems can be resolved, but we will not throw money into every problems and disregard consequences, symptoms and the origin of these problems,” he said.
The Budget Lekgotla precedes the Extended Budget Lekgotla which will take place on Tuesday, October 22 and the Mid Term Budget Speech by Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni on Thursday.